CLEMSON — Part of the reason No. 10 Clemson (8-1, 5-1 ACC) might be becoming a more consistent team this season is because of peer pressure: quarterback Tajh Boyd is demanding more accountability from his teammates.
That leadership was on display on the sideline at Wake Forest.
“Me and (receiver) Jaron (Brown) kind of got into it (at Wake),” Boyd said. “I got sacked on a play and I was expecting him to do something and he starts going back and forth with me. ... He’s like ‘I’m about to try you’ I was like ‘you don’t want to try me.’ We talked about it after the game.”
While Boyd said he mostly encourages teammates he added there must be “realism” regarding performance standards.
“When Cam Newton was at Auburn, I feel like all he did was smile,” Boyd said. “And don’t get me wrong, I (still) smile a lot, too. But during games I’m more locked into it, more engaged, because, it’s a business out there for us. We are trying to uphold what our standard is to the utmost.”
Boyd is also demanding more of himself, including details like body language.
“In the Georgia Tech game I took a shot in the chest, we had scored, and I walked off the field,” Boyd said. “Coach (Dabo) Swinney has a problem with walking off the field. (Swinney said) ‘You are walking off the field. You are showing people you are tired.’ I was like ‘Man, I’m not tired, I’m hurting.’ It’s one of those deals where body language is key. In the world I’m in you forget that it kind of goes how you go. People respond to your body language and respond to your attitude.”
Ellington will play
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said running back Andre Ellington (hamstring) practiced Wednesday night as is expected to start vs. Maryland (4-5, 2-3) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Tight end Brandon Ford is also expected to play.
Pass rusher wanted
One element Clemson has lacked this season is a bona fide pass rusher. Vic Beasley has a team-best five sacks but has been limited to being a situational player because of his lack of bulk.
“(Beasley) at 240 or 245 (pounds) could be a real electric guy and more of a force to deal with,” Swinney said. “Right now he’s a factor because he’s so active.”
After Beasley no other Clemson defender has more than two sacks.
Maryland leads the ACC with 25 sacks thanks to its zone pressure scheme. Clemson is tied for seventh with 18 sacks. It’s another reason why it is imperative Clemson is able to keep the commitment from the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche.
O-line getting deep?
Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris praised the efforts of several young linemen against Duke. Freshman tackles Isaiah Battle (6-7, 290) and Shaq Anthony each played 19 snaps their most work since the Furman game in Week 3. With four starting offensive line returning Clemson could have its deepest and most athletic offensive line in years in 2013.